Ain’t Gonna Happen

Of all the do-gooder organizations out there, the American Cancer Society ranks up near the top on my personal Pain-In-The-Ass Scale — and I say this as someone who has lost one wife to cancer, and am currently married to a cancer survivor.

The problem is that the ACS is always quick to warn (i.e. scold) people about the risks of getting cancer, when as any fule kno, Joe Jackson had it right:  Everything Gives You Cancer.  It’s the likelihood thereof that needs to be judged if one needs to modify one’s behavior.

So bullshit like this doesn’t help the cause at all:

New guidelines on cancer prevention recommend cutting out alcohol completely

Wait, what?  But the details can be found somewhat further down the page:

In the United States, the ACS estimates that alcohol use accounts for about 6 percent of all cancers and 4 percent of all cancer deaths.

Right;  so I have to give up something which gives me untold pleasure, makes good times with friends even better, and dulls the pain of everyday life — because there’s a 4% chance it may cause me to die from cancer:  me, with no family history of cancer, who has never smoked nor worked with cancer-bearing substances of any kind?

And it gets worse:

“Alcohol use is one of the most important preventable risk factors for cancer, along with tobacco use and excess body weight,” according to the ACS.
Other significant changes included more physical activity and eating less processed and red meat — although the ACS also now recommends completely cutting processed and red meat from one’s diet, as well as sugar-sweetened beverages and “highly processed foods and refined grain products.”

Cut out biltong too?  For a 4% risk?

As Glenn Reynolds says:  I’ll take my chances.  Or as Oliver Reed once said:


  1. Cancer “charities” haven’t produced much in terms of results that I know of. Look at the pay the heads of these charities get, and the percentage that goes to research, or wherever they spend money. They are worse than thieves, they represent they are doing good. At least the guy stealing your wallet doesn’t pretend he is helping you.

  2. Head of the American Cancer Society is paid just over $2,000,000.00 a year. Poor guy, if cancer is cured, he is out of a job. No wonder they don’t try very hard.

  3. I have a flashlight that that came with the CA cancer warning. Just to be safe, I didn’t eat it.

  4. Forget what the leadership steals, sorry, gets paid; after this latest pronouncement I’d love to get a look at the liquor cabinet, in-house bar or “man cave,” or wine cellars of Gary Reedy, CEO of the American Cancer Society, or their Chief Medical and Scientific Officer, Dr. William G. Cance, M.D., who both probably had a hand in this latest clap-trap.

    I have a Personal Rule (many of them, as a matter of fact,) by which I live my life: If anyone presumes to tell me how to live my life, then asks for my money so they can continue to interfere, they get nothing. Ever.

    The money I would have given to ACS would be better spent for health insurance premiums.

  5. But Kim, if you quit drinking you’ll live 10 years longer.

    And you’ll hate every minute of those 10 years as well as the years until those extra 10 start.

    Everything has a price.

  6. “Curing” cancer is probably going to be impossible. The causes are myriad, ranging from exposure to chemicals so nasty that merely looking at them seems to be enough to get the disease all the way to having a great-grandfather who got hit by a cosmic ray in *just* the right spot to mutate a gene. Some specific forms may be eradicated but cancer will be with us forever.

    Back when the ACS was formed cancer was thought to be a simpler problem and that it could be solved the way we’d solved other problems: by throwing enough money at it. Over the years we’ve found that it’s a much more intransigent problem. Which, in a way, makes it the perfect situation for an organization such as the ACS: a problem which can never be resolved but causes enough fear and real misery to continually stoke the fires to “do something”. They’ll be able to ride this horse forever; all they have to do is keep coming up with new reasons to entice people to donate more money. Hence BS studies such as the above, so they can say, “See what good things we’re doing in the fight against cancer! Send more money!”

    I think George Carlin said it best: “The surgeon general warned today that saliva causes stomach cancer. But apparently only when swallowed in small amounts over a long period of time.”

  7. Pure nonsense. Just as statistically valid would be to claim that having a last name that ends in a consonant puts you at a 37% percent risk of cancer, but only if your name changed when you were married.

    When they can say that doing something has 100% percent risk and not doing it reduces your risk to 0%, then they may be on to something.

    But, of course, maybe all the 0% population in the study died of something else before the cancer developed.

    To many variables to ever be able to conclusively isolate a cause and effect.

  8. I had a Biology professor my freshman year of college in the early 1960’s who spoke to us about drinking during the first week of the semester. He told us that he knew we were young men away from home at men’s college not far from a woman’s college and that we would be drinking on the weekends and then he said be smart. Among the facts of what being stupid like drinking and driving or riding with drunks, getting wasted and doing really stupid stuff and or getting young ladies knocked up, he said that the chemistry of the stuff we poured down our throats made a difference.

    Most hard liquor at the time was at least 100 proof except for brandy, a lot of it was 110 and the professor said 100 proof is 50% alcohol and in order to keep from getting sick or damaging tissue in our throats and stomach he told us to mix something, water or anything to bring the level of alcohol down to 25% or less which does not burn living tissue. He said a stomach full of shots peels off the mucus lining and results in the dry heaves and folks who spend a lot of time drinking straight shots through the day end up with scar tissue in their mouths and throats which could lead to…. cancer and other complications.

    Then he went on to warn us that when some idiot passed out after puking put him on his stomach so he does not throw up and drown when it goes down his windpipe. He also said loud noise like a lot of music, lots of folks smoking and dancing which we would do combined with a bit too much alcohol would result in fantastic hangovers and he was right as we soon found out..

    In my mind some of the folks who get cancer probably have made some bad choices drinking alcohol and a lot of us had done our share of drinking. After three bouts of cancer, the first 19 years ago and the last seven years ago and being in my mid 70’s neither I nor my docs think alcohol has been a factor and some moderate use is healthy. Of course having said that I have seen some very good friends who lived ‘over the line’ on the amount of alcohol they consumed and had to attend and speak at their funerals, too much of that shit will kill you.

  9. TBF, anyone who both wants, and can afford, a nuclear weapon (of any size) probably already has one, and no law will stop them.

    But the ACS is ignoring the positive cardiovascular benefits of moderate drinking…So, die from an MI, or die from cancer?

  10. I remember anti-smoking ads back in the day saying 1 out of 10 smokers got cancer and thinking that meant there was 9 in 10 chance they wouldn’t.

  11. I remember a cartoon from a 1980’s National Review. It was tombstone with words to the effect of:

    Here Lies John Smith
    Born 1930
    Gave up smoking 1965
    Gave up drinking 1970
    Gave up Red Meat 1975
    Died Anyway 1985

    1. Well, I’ve lasted ten years longer (and counting) than John Smith, and other than the smoking thing (which I’ve never done), I haven’t cut out any of those things.

      He probably died of Terminal Misery.

      1. Me, too.
        Mr. Smith’s body probably thought it was really 105 instead of 55, and just gave up. In other words, from Terminal Vegan Syndrome. They already seem to have heavy tread wear for their age and mileage.

  12. I’ve survived skin cancer, and prostate cancer, I’m sick and tired of sitting through Breast Cancer Awareness Month six times a year.

  13. I am firmly convinced that Cancer is a retro virus that attacks a genetic sequence. there will be no cure as long as the existing cure bankrupts anyone who try’s to get it.

    The medical industry is a large vacuum applied to your wallet and anything they try to tell you should be discounted by large degree.

  14. I think that’s not a 4% chance of getting cancer from drinking, but a 4% chance that IF you get cancer, it’s from drinking. (Not that it’s possible to determine that for any particular case.) And I suspect that this 4% is an average between teetotalers, light drinkers, moderate drinkers, and binge drinkers and alcoholics – with nearly all the cases occurring in the binge drinkers and alcoholics. Our host seems to be too much of a gentleman to allow himself to fall into one of those groups…

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